Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)

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Lt 2, 1880

Haskell, S. N.

Battle Creek, Michigan

November 8, 1880

See variant Lt 2a, 1880. Portions of this letter are published in PM 332-333, 335; 3Bio 155.

Dear Brother Haskell:

We are very busy at our work. We never had more to do than at the present time. Articles for Signs and matters for sanitarium were crowding in, and looking over and revising letters for my children keep me fully occupied. I can not sleep more than four hours each night, and frequently not more than three. I wrote you a letter, but I have mislaid it. It was written more than a week ago. It does not appear, and so will write you again. 3LtMs, Lt 2, 1880, par. 1

My husband appears well, kind, and cheerful. We have purchased us a home about one mile from the city on Goguac Road. We shall move as soon as we can get the people out who are in it. 3LtMs, Lt 2, 1880, par. 2

In reading the letters I have written to Willie, I find some things plainly stated in reference to the things I have been shown regarding the office of publication being involved, and that there had been with Willie and yourself a mistake in lowering the prices of our books so low that the office could not prosper. This was poor policy. These plans appeared right to you both, but was the worst thing you could do for the office. It belittles the value of the books, and when once placed at so low a figure, it will be very difficult to increase the price so that they will be placed at their proper value. 3LtMs, Lt 2, 1880, par. 3

Another mistake I was shown was in regard to our ministers. They have but little to encourage them. Their wages are placed away down below that of men who are day laborers, and they have sacrifices of no ordinary character to make. And while there is no more encouragement given them, but little can be expected in the increase of laborers. The work of the ministry is belittled. Satan tempts men today as he ever has done, and there will soon be a dearth of ministers. I am alarmed at the prospect. I must say, Hold on, Brother [S. N.] Haskell; hold on, Brother [B. L.] Whitney; hold on, Brother [G. I.] Butler. Study from cause to effect more critically. There must not be a one-sided view taken of these things. I was not a little surprised, and I must say, alarmed at the outlook. You know I have felt a very deep interest in tract and missionary work, and it may be my strong and urgent appeals have done much to mold matters as they now exist. But the last view, as I read what I wrote last fall, shows me that there is great danger of running everything into the tract and missionary work. This vigilant missionary work is as a wheel within a wheel, but, at the same time, it must not swallow up other interests. 3LtMs, Lt 2, 1880, par. 4

The office of publication must not be crippled in any sense to keep this branch in vigorous action, leaving the matter of profit to the tract and missionary society, while but little profit, if any at all, comes to the publishing house. Dr. [J. H.] Kellogg is also a drain upon the office of publication. 3LtMs, Lt 2, 1880, par. 5

When the resolution was adopted that this small source of income, besides their small wages, was cut off from our ministers in the selling of our publications, I said to myself, “All wrong.” There will be a serious reaction from this. I am sure that the heart and soul is being taken out of our ministers by these movements, and I must not keep silence. The interests of every part of the cause are dear to me as my life, and every branch of importance. I was shown that there was danger of making the tract and missionary work so absorbing that it will, through a multiplicity of plans, become perplexing and intricate. “Too much machinery,” was repeated to me by the angel. [With] more simplicity in Sabbath-school work, [and] less machinery in missionary work, more would be accomplished with less expenditure of means. [We] get above the simplicity of the work. I find these things written, and I must get them before some of our working men. Now is the time to work and work in God. Out of God our work will be as nothing. There must be more encouragement given to our ministers. 3LtMs, Lt 2, 1880, par. 6

The only reason that my husband’s influence today is not what God designed it should be is because he was not patient, kind, and forbearing. Severity and too much dictation became interwoven with his character. You have seen and felt it. Others have felt it. [This] has marred the work of God from time to time. Repetition of this very course of action made it habit. 3LtMs, Lt 2, 1880, par. 7

You, my brother, are in danger of failing just where he has failed. You are in danger of mingling self with your work, and of being dictatorial and exacting and overbearing. Unless you are guarded, you will assuredly fail on this point. Your feet will slide unless you place them in an even path and grasp firmly from above. 3LtMs, Lt 2, 1880, par. 8

Elder [B. L.] Whitney is growing into a sharp, domineering, ruling power. He must see and sense this and reform in this particular, or his labors will prove a failure. Unless he has the kindest regard for the feelings and rights of his ministering brethren, he will lose their love, their affection, and respect. This domineering spirit, exercised in sharp-cut and overbearing words, will become habit, which will prove [a] controlling power. 3LtMs, Lt 2, 1880, par. 9

The position of my husband, his age, his affliction, the great work he has done in the cause and work of God have fastened him in the affections of his brethren that many things he might say that savor of sharpness would be overlooked in him, that would not be regarded in the same light if spoken by younger ministers. They will find themselves without the confidence of the church and brother ministers, when such a spirit is exercised. Those who can see these things of which they have complained in my husband must not go and do likewise and even ten times worse. Such a manifestation is so inappropriate so unbecoming, and entirely out of place that the frown of God is upon it, and He will in no case sanction such a spirit. I entreat of you, Brother [S. N.] Haskell, to never even once put on the garment of severity and ruling. 3LtMs, Lt 2, 1880, par. 10

I was shown in my last vision that you and Elder [B. L.] Whitney were in danger of giving an example of extravagance in the expenditure of money for books not on present truth. Many who do not need these books, whom they will not benefit at all if offered for sale by our ministers, will purchase them if the statement is made that the profits on such books go to the tract and missionary society; and the money thus expended should have purchased publications on present truth, which they needed. There should be a leaving off before there is a beginning to purchase costly Bibles. When poor ministers see these good and extravagant Bibles, they will have them who are the least able, and as a result, they can not supply themselves with works treating on our faith. You need to study carefully and critically how best to preserve the simplicity of our faith in everything. 3LtMs, Lt 2, 1880, par. 11

You are in danger, my brother, of making mistakes of handling too large a business, and making a failure. We are spreading over a greater work than can be looked after and kept in working order. While we should be ever ready to follow the opening providence of God, we should occupy no more ground in branching out than there are means to care for the interest. While there are larger and broader plans, there must be encouragement given to our young ministers to act in the work, and [to] be trained and educated to carry it forward. I was astonished, as I was shown how little encouragement our ministers have, that they will cling to the work and do anything. 3LtMs, Lt 2, 1880, par. 12

The course pursued in the east toward Elder Lane, I saw was after the eastern fashion, but not after God’s plan. The course pursued toward [J. O.] Corliss and Lane was after the [D. M.] Canright order, but not after God’s order. The course Elder [B. L.] Whitney is pursuing is after Elder Whitney’s way, but not at all Christ-like. There must be more of Christ’s spirit and less of self. 3LtMs, Lt 2, 1880, par. 13

Less sharp dealing and more compassion and the mercy and the love of God should be seen. Unless Jesus comes in and self is subdued and trampled down, we shall not prosper as a people. I speak what I know and testify what I have seen. I beseech of you, my brother, to labor in God wholly. Do not have too many plans, but do let the work be carried on healthfully, circumspectly, and with a thoroughness that will not ravel out. God will work with you and through you if you are right in His sight. Make your way perfect before God. He knows your need and is acquainted with all your infirmities. He will help you by His power if you trust fully in Him. 3LtMs, Lt 2, 1880, par. 14

I feel a great burden for Willie. Poor boy, he is carrying terrible burdens, but God can help him. I believe He will not leave him destitute of His Spirit. Let your heart strengthen itself in God. I have wanted to write to you and to New Hampshire, but I am full of writing, full of work. 3LtMs, Lt 2, 1880, par. 15

Your sister. 3LtMs, Lt 2, 1880, par. 16